'Disgraced' Pak scientist AQ Khan claims Benazir capped uranium enrichment at 5pc

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 06, 2012 09:21 hrs

Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has disclosed that Pakistan's nuclear programme was capped at five percent in 1989 on the orders of the then chief executive, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Khan claimed that Bhutto passed the orders in the presence of the then COAS in a meeting held in the Presidency.

"She had ordered me to stop the enrichment of uranium at 5% as she wanted to please the United States and get aid. The enrichment was stopped at 5% as per the orders of the Prime Minister. Even then not only the then US president Bush Senior cut Pakistan's aid but in Pakistan the bosses of the army and ISI got annoyed and suspicious of the orders of the Prime Minister," The News quoted Khan, as saying.

"You have to enrich uranium up to 90% to make atomic bomb/weapons. By stopping enrichment at 5% means you will be unable to make atomic bomb as was demanded by the U.S. But Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and General Zia-ul-Haq had been resisting this U.S. pressure," Khan explained, adding that enrichment of uranium was restored later.

He also said that because of the same reasons, when Bhutto again came to power, the nuclear programme was taken under direct control of the army with no influence or authority of the civilian government.

In 2004, Khan had admitted that he ran a nuclear black-market, and sold secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. But he later retracted his remarks and in 2009 was freed from house arrest, although he was asked to keep a low profile. (ANI)

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